Addressing Guide


The prevalence of computer aided dispatch services (E-911 systems) has made it vital that proper addressing be completed in a coordinated and regimented manner. A fundamental component of the emergency services system is a comprehensive, accurate, and sequential addressing system.

This document describes standards and processes to be applied for street name and numerical addressing of all parcels and buildings within Sumner County. It is intended to serve as a reference for various departments and agencies. The primary goal of this guide is to provide emergency services agencies with a complete set of addresses to assist them with responding to calls for service in the most efficient manner.

Authority to Address

The authority to name public and private roads and streets and assign property numbers relating to the roads and streets is expressed in Tennessee Code 7-86-127.

Existing Addresses and Street Names

All addresses, road, and street names shall adhere to these guidelines. Public and private streets, roads, and highways will hereafter be referred to as “streets”.  Certain non-conforming addresses or street names may be considered exempt. This shall be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Every attempt to preserve existing addresses will be made, but the public safety demand for clear addressing of all properties shall prevail. The intent of this guide is not only to assign addresses for new development in a uniform, streamlined manner, but it is also meant to provide direction for correcting any existing issues which may lead to a delay of emergency response if not corrected.

Street and Subdivision Names

Street and subdivision names should be submitted to the Emergency Communications District (ECD) for review online or in person. The requester will be notified of approval, denial, or changes needed for the names requested.

The standards established below will apply when considering approval of street and subdivision names.

  • Street names should be easy to read and pronounce so that the public, children in particular, can say the name in an emergency situation. Street names with confusing spellings should be avoided.
  • Duplicate street and subdivision names that sound similar will not be permitted.
  • Street names shall not contain any special characters or punctuation.
  • Only recognized street types (prefixes and suffixes) as listed in the Master Street Addressing Guide (MSAG) will be used.
  • Names with the same theme are suggested for streets within a subdivision as a means of general identification.
  • Geographic directions will not be used as part of the street name such as “Northshore” or Eastgate”.
  • Street suffixes should not be part of the root street name.
  • Directional prefixes shall be used only when necessary, and no more than one directional prefix is allowed per street name.
  • The entire street name, including prefixes and suffixes, should be limited to 15 characters. Spaces are considered characters for counting purposes.
  • Street names should be no more than 2 words.
  • Names that may be offensive (slang, double meanings, etc.) shall be avoided.
  • Apartments and condominiums: Developments with multiple buildings and vehicular travel ways may be assigned street names.
  • Municipal and county planning departments or their legislative bodies may request to reserve specific street names for future use by submitting those requests to the ECD.

The ECD recommends that any road, either publicly or privately maintained, which may be traversed by an emergency service vehicle and provides access to three or more addressable structures be named and assigned address ranges.

Renaming Streets

Renaming streets should be first considered by the county or respective municipality’s legislative body or their designee in whose jurisdiction the street lies. It is strongly encouraged that legislative body or designee consider, at minimum, the following:  The reason for the renaming, acquiring written support by all residents on the affected street, and alternative names. Additionally, if the street name is changed, the legislative body or designee should decide who will be responsible for notifying the United States Postal Service, utility providers, assessor’s office, city recorder’s office, register of deeds, or others who may be affected by the change.
It is recommended to allow 30 days after approval for the name change to be effective.

Addressing For Residential Development

All existing and new parcels and buildings within Sumner County shall have an approved sequential numerical address. Addresses shall generally be issued based on the location of the driveway. The purpose of this is for consistency across the county. Some homes are not easily visible from the road, and some front doors are not readily discernible for which street they face. In general, a driveway grants the easiest approach for responders and will be used regardless of the location of the front door. Site plans submitted for addressing should note the location of the driveway. Developments such as townhomes, which may have off-street parking or do not have a driveway, will be addressed based on the location of the front door.

  • The ECD may periodically review addresses for inconsistencies. Any addresses which are out of sequence are subject to reassignment in order to achieve consistency and conform to the proper address standard sequence.
  • Partial address numbers, such as fractions, shall not be used. A letter shall not be part of the numerical address unless absolutely necessary.
  • Residential development, including townhomes, attached homes, duplexes, triplexes, and single-family homes shall be assigned a numerical address for each residential dwelling unit.
  • New street numbering will generally begin from the intersection of the main roadway with even and odd numbers on opposing sides. Numbers will be assigned to accommodate potential future development when practical.
  • Corner lots: Upon presentation of a final plat of a development which includes corner lots (a lot bordered by 2 streets) to the ECD for addressing, the ECD will hold 2 temporary addresses to those corner lots. The ECD shall be notified about the final determined location of the driveway as soon as it is known.
  • Culs-de-sac: Numbers will begin at the street intersection and ascend toward the cul-de-sac. Odd and even numbers will meet at the mid-point or back of the cul-de-sac.
  • Crossing county / city boundaries: When crossing county lines, boundaries of adjacent municipalities, or boundaries of municipalities and unincorporated areas, consideration will be given to a compatible existing numbering system.
  • Stacked addresses: For multiple structures sharing one driveway, additional addresses from the street off which the driveway is accessed will be used based on sequential order. Alphanumerical addresses will not be used unless absolutely necessary. It is imperative each structure is clearly marked with its unique address. If a driveway splits, a structure’s clearly marked address should be indicated at the split to avoid unnecessary delays for first responders.
  • Multi-tenant structures: Each development or complex will be issued a primary address (1000 Example Dr) based on sequential numerical guidelines already mentioned. Each unit number will follow that primary address (1000 Example Dr Apt. 2306). When practical, individual vehicular travel ways will be named within the development.
    Additional buildings may be assigned an address point for emergency services responders’ reference. For example, some developments have detached maintenance buildings or garages. A victim calls 911 from within the garage for chest pains. The phone’s location should populate on the public safety answering point (PSAP) map showing the address of that garage. Responders can be directed to that specific garage rather than checking all garages at the development.
  • Developments with multiple buildings and units within those buildings should be numbers as follows:
    • Building number
    • Floor number
    • Unit number
      Example: Building 2, floor 3, apartment 6 would be 2306.
      Example: Building 12, floor 1, apartment 18 would be 12118
    • Odd and even numbers should be on opposing sides of hallways, breezeways, etc. Numbering should start on the left side of the building when standing in front of the building.
  • Mobile home parks: A park will be issued a primary address based on sequential numerical guidelines. Each unit within the park will be assigned a unique unit number.

Addressing For Commercial Development

  • Single building projects: Buildings which provide interior primary access to units should have one address when all units are accessible from the interior. Each unit shall be assigned a 3 or 4 digit suite number in sequential numerical order (1000 Example Dr Suite 200). Even and odd suite numbers should be on opposing sides of hallways. Exterior doors to units shall be labeled with the unit number to assist emergency services responders in finding the unit should it be necessary to access the unit from the exterior.
    Buildings with multiple floors should identify suite numbers beginning with the respective floor number then unit number.
    Buildings which provide exterior primary access to units should have individual street addresses in sequential numerical order. Appropriate increments between each unit should be considered for future division of the units. Those address numbers should be clearly marked immediately above or beside the respective unit’s door. Other exterior access doors should also have that unit’s number labeled.
  • Multiple building projects: Each building should be numbered with single or double digits. Individual units or suites shall be assigned a 3 or 4 digit number in sequential order with odd and even numbers on opposing sides of hallways, walkways, etc. The respective building number should be part of the unit number as the first 1 or 2 digits. Example: Building 4, floor 1, unit 103 would be Suite 4103.
  • Corner businesses: Businesses that exist on the corner of 2 streets may be addressed based on the street the business faces.
  • Utility address: Utility providers may request an address for equipment permanently placed. The process to request the address will be consistent with all other requests. The address issued will be based on sequential numerical guidelines. The number will generally be followed by the letter “U” to indicate “Utility”.
  • Hotels: Every guest room is to have a room number posted on the door. The first digit is to indicate the floor, and the second and third digits are to indicate the individual room on the floor. All other rooms shall have posted above or beside the door a simple description of the use such as “meeting room”, “office”, “storage”, “housekeeping”, etc.

Premises Identification

Structure address numbers should be posted adjacent to the driveway that leads to the structure. Structures that share driveways should have the structure marked with the numerical address as well. Commercial and similar structures that are clearly visible from the street may post address numbers on the structure plainly visible from the street fronting the structure. Numbers should contrast with their background so they can be easily seen.

Changes to Guidelines

No guideline can anticipate every condition or question related to any addressing or street naming circumstance. However, the prescribed methods described in this document are to outline many addressing situations.
This guide is subject to revision as needed.